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Two Poems

from The Book of Life   Shot   October 29, 1971   Don’t be distracted by the shot of Picasso, the flesh sagging its frame. No cubist, this body aged 90: the hands lively because they could still be. On

Two Poems

Undelivered letter from the Rev. Charles Smale to The Times, 1874   Sir – We have spent too long debating Darwin in these pages whose theories, after all, are not incompatible with God and His ever-unfolding map of history and

Three Poems

Hsia Yü   夏宇   Three Poems (Translated by Steve Bradbury)     Personal Life The universe is vast and boundless We greatly feared we were unsustainable And thus invented time Divine Personal life Time by chance was just all used

Little Night Owl

for Rachel For hours I’d lug her on my shoulder, up and down the sidewalk in front of that crumbling pre-war two-story where we lived under the tap shoes of a struggling hoofer. Up and down that sidewalk, stumbling over


I am walking along the dazzling ruin of a road I knew When I was fourteen, summer, and the days stretch out Like the road itself, or like that song about a road heading Somewhere far off into the unseen and the one


When I first knotted my hair against the coming of winter, I had grown tired of playing jacks and didn’t yet find boys of especial interest, unlike my older sister, who kept her thin hair down in the cold season

small town saxaphone

men in rain, thin and fine halos of hair, they walk like brown trees, so spread apart. the street looks like a big thick saxophone running by. a line of light plays out along undulating roofs, threads of rain fall

Two Poems

She Dog                           A ticky rain of blood from             her back fur—why did her sex confuse me?             Femme, she loved girls,                         and her mustache neutered                         her. Fur             tangled and burred,   whole plants clung


In an ancient park, isolated and icy, Two passing shapes come passing by. Their lips are slack, their eyes dead, It takes effort to make out their words. In the ancient park, isolated, icy, Two ghosts trying to call back

How to Get Divorced

STEP 1: For 20 years, swallow everything. Eat until you are the heaviest pillow on the bed. Then eat three pills a day to stay alive. NO. First, watch your mother build row upon row of poppies. And though you

A Lean-to at the End of the Ga…

You fire a fiction deep into my brain By the dishwasher door gaping to accept This evening’s dirtied plates. It detonates. I am unrecognizable to myself As I am unknown to you And the shockwave from the wordblast Drives out

It’s Not Your Fault

The brass lamp in your window, warm honey heat humming in the frozen prairie February dawn when everything’s a stone of cold, may have yoo-hooed at the hobo teetering on his tattooed lip of murder, but it didn’t open the door. It’s a


Damned if I’ll be the woman who collects mass produced throw pillows counts her county’s condoms shoots chemicals to drench the porch hornet on the way to recycle the obits hums Somalian rap—young—five minutes till the end one spring considers

Death of God

Bituminous was so soft, so much like dust, you could cover a roaring fire till cold and darkness were all you had, then two even three weeks later you could poke it and the blue flames you identified with the

Two Poems

CONGREGATION   We are six strangers gathered on a gravel road in the heart of the valley, waiting, whispering about the flock of bald eagles roosting in a distant stand of cottonwoods. Then it begins: Hunting low over the open